Project Resource 2.0: A New Direction in Fundraising Training

May 18, 2017

The landscape for both religious institutions and faith-based fundraising is changing. The Episcopal Church Foundation’s (ECF) mission to respond to the needs of the Church is informed by the needs that arise from this newly emerging terrain. Recently, ECF staff served as faculty for an initiative that is leading the way in faith-based giving education while adapting to the needs of a changing Church.

Project Resource 2.0: A New Direction was held May 9 -11, 2017 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia. 11 Diocesan teams consisting of 72 individuals met to equip their diocese for the work of fundraising through a strategy that employed financial development, Vital Teams training, and communications. Its aim was to provide hands-on instruction as well as practical tools.

Project Resource 2.0 is a collaborative training initiative hosted, as a service program, by the College of Bishops, the Episcopal Church’s Office of Development, and ECF. This type of collaboration is a first within the Episcopal Church. The team-based approach also drew from expertise beyond the three institutions, to ensure that a wide-reach in knowledge-sharing was provided. As such, this year’s new launch of the successful training model was marked by significant cross-institutional partnerships and relationships.

This team-based training model, both within the faculty and participants, is a distinctive new way of teaching fundraising for mission in the Episcopal Church. Project Resource was designed to turn a diocesan Bishop into a team leader of resource developers that each have the training and digital resources to lead any church in any situation concerning resource development of money, vision, or people–three great resources of a church’s mission. The training initiative seeks to develop resident teachers on the ground in each diocese so that churches get the help they need in stewardship development.

Over the three days, training topics included:

  • The “Why” of giving
  • Annual Giving
  • Generational Characteristics
  • Major Donor Strategies
  • Communication Plan Development
  • Planned Giving
  • Accountability in metrics and implementation

Project Resource’s goal is to directly provide every church with the teaching resources they need to raise funds and people. Since its initial launch in 2015, over 1/3 of all diocese have participated in the training. Participants have received both in-person instruction by experienced faculty, as well as a training manual that provides print and digital resources that can be adapted to teach the essentials of financial development for all sizes and sorts of churches in a diocese.

As part of the newly relaunched training, each team was assigned a faculty member for the planning and implementation of Project Resource during and after the event. Assignments ensured that faculty met each participant where they were on the fundraising journey and will continue to walk with them, in a grassroots approach, as they shift the culture of giving in their own institutions.

This year’s faculty included ECF’s President Donald Romanik, Program Director Erin Weber-Johnson, and Consultant Sarah Townsend. Other Project Resource 2.0 faculty included Mike Orr, Director of Communications in the Diocese of Colorado, the Rt. Rev. Clay Matthews, Director of the College of Bishops, and Shay Craig, Associate of Development and Major Gifts in the Diocese of Chicago. Shay participated in Project Resource in 2015 and developed a successful plan for implementation for parishes in the diocese. Shay joined the Project Resource 2.0 faculty in 2017 and provided strategies for diocesan roll out of Project Resource in varied contexts.

In addition to faculty, the initiative was supported by Events Coordinator, Betsy Jutras, from the College of Bishop and the Office of Development of the Episcopal Church.

Next year’s Project Resource will meet at Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas from Tuesday, April 10, to Thursday, April 12.

More information can be found:

Erin Weber-Johnson, Program Director of Strategic Resources, first joined ECF as a capital campaign consultant in 2009. She currently works with Episcopal leaders to faithfully answer “What is God calling this organization to be/do?” through Strategic Visioning and Planning. She has facilitated cross-denominational events, national plenaries and workshops, diocesan trainings, vestry retreats and live webinars. Her content areas include: the Strategic Thinking Process, annual, capital and planned giving, volunteer engagement, generational giving characteristics. She also serves as a primary faculty member for Project Resource 2.0, a program developed by multiple institutions of the Episcopal Church, which trains Diocesan teams to successfully raise funds for God’s mission.